Dot Hill enters storage virtualization market

By Dave Simpson

By Dave Simpson

November 8, 2010 – Branching out from its disk array and host RAID software roots, Dot Hill today introduced the Unified Virtual Storage (UVS) appliance under its Assured brand.

“This introduction marks a major change in direction for Dot Hill from a disk array vendor to a company that’s more focused on software and storage virtualization,” says Jim Jonez, Dot Hill’s senior director of marketing, “and we’re moving beyond our OEM base into new distribution channels.”

Dot Hill re-launched its channel partner program about a year ago, and now claims to have more than 175 resellers and integrators.

The in-line AssuredUVS appliance and software sits between application servers and heterogeneous disk arrays. Front-end connections include Fibre Channel, iSCSI/Ethernet and, optionally, NAS (CIFS and NFS). On the back-end, the AssuredUVS appliance connects via Fibre Channel to disk arrays from Apple, Dot Hill, EMC, Hitachi, HP, IBM, LSI/Engenio, NetApp, Nexsan, Oracle, Promise Technology, Xiotech and Xyratex. The AssuredUVS software virtualizes those arrays into a single pool of storage with a single pane for management.

“You can create volumes across heterogeneous arrays on the back end and present them as block or file volumes to the hosts,” says Jonez.

The dual-controller appliances are typically deployed in pairs for fault toleranace, and users can scale up to a six-controller clustered configuration.

The virtualization functionality in the AssuredUVS came largely from Dot Hill’s acquisition of Cloverleaf Communications early this year. The AssuredUVS system was previously called the iSN (Intelligent Storage Network) platform.

For its OEMs, Dot Hill supplies a software-only solution, but for its channel partners the company bundles the virtualization software with x86 servers in an appliance configuration – with or without external storage systems from Dot Hill.

Xiotech is one of the first OEMs for Dot Hill’s AssuredUVS.

In addition to virtualization of heterogeneous arrays, AssuredUVS software functionality includes thin provisioning, synchronous mirroring, policy-based storage tiering, data migration and remote replication, which is priced separately. The appliance supports up to 240,000 volumes and 192,000 snapshots.

AssuredUVS competes with software-only virtualization solutions from vendors such as DataCore and FalconStor. Dot Hill’s key differentiators versus those vendors, according to Jonez, are that Dot Hill supports both block (SAN) and file (NAS) I/O and the company offers its own disk arrays in bundled configurations.

List pricing for the AssuredUVS appliance starts at $63,960 for a model that supports 50TB of back-end capacity and includes all software (except replication and support for NAS). The appliances can be scaled to manage up to 6PB of back-end capacity.

Related article: “Dot Hill arrays support 8Gb FC, iSCSI, 6Gb SAS"

This article was originally published on November 08, 2010